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    Aug 26, 2016

    Schooling's $1m award to be used to pay off loans

    OLYMPIC champion Joseph Schooling will return to Singapore in November for a Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) fund-raiser - but the swimmer himself is also set for a cash injection.

    The 21-year-old, Singapore's only medallist at the Rio Games, claimed the 100m butterfly gold and the $1 million award from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) that comes with it, the first Singapore athlete to do so.

    Of this, 20 per cent will be given to the SSA for training and development, as stipulated by the SNOC.

    Schooling will get about $661,650 after taxes.

    It is believed the SNOC will hold an appreciation dinner for Team Singapore's Olympians during the week that Schooling is in town.

    There, it will also dole out the $1 million monetary award, which is part of the Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) sponsored by the Tote Board and Singapore Pools. The MAP awards are designed to reward medallists at major Games.

    Schooling, a University of Texas student, admitted he has not decided what to do with the money.

    He added: "I don't really know (yet).

    "My parents have always managed my finances and I'll let them decide what to do."

    Yesterday, speaking to the media at their Parkway Parade office, Schooling's father Colin, a businessman, said: "We borrowed money from banks to pay for his education and training so this will help cover (some of the loans). The beauty of it is my son actually told us: Mummy and daddy, don't worry, just use (the money) to pay off the loans."

    Colin and his wife May have spent more than $1 million supporting their only child's aspirations.

    This includes covering his five years at Bolles School, a private college preparatory school.

    Fees at the Florida-based school are around US$41,450 (S$56,000) a year.

    There is also rental for an apartment, which is about US$2,800 a month, on top of living expenses and other incidentals such as flights and accommodation and even physiotherapy.

    It helps that he has been the top earner of the MAP in recent years. Last year, he was given $31,250 for his flawless SEA Games outing, where he won all his nine races.

    In 2014, he pocketed $370,000 for four medals - a silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and one gold, one silver and one bronze at the Incheon Asian Games.

    Joseph is also a Sports Excellence Scholar.

    He belongs to the highest of three tiers and is supposed to receive $90,000 annually.

    May, a member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said: "It's been a wild ride but like I always say, we're all enjoying the journey."